Migos’ Stylist Shares the Key to Their “Walk It Talk It” Video: “Definitely Ruffles”
Stylist Zoe Costello tells GARAGE how Migos channeled “Soul Train” for their new video, saying, “They wanted to go all in.”
With their Versace-heavy wardrobe, ability to mix t-shirts with high-fashion brands like Loewe, and enviable sneaker collection, Migos is one of the pop cultural forces defining this era’s rock star look. But the video for their latest single, “Walk It Talk It,” released last week, looks like footage unearthed from another era: lit with all the softness of 1976’s finest technology, Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset are dressed in Afros, bellbottom suits, and loads of ruffles, and they shimmy and snap their fingers on a gold stage, spin under a disco ball, and parade down a dance line in a strikingly direct homage to Soul Train called Culture Ride. Jamie Foxx (!!!) does a gentle parody of Soul Train’s legendarily stiff host, Don Cornelius (Foxx intro’s himself as “Ron Delirious”). The video even features a version of the Soul Train Scramble Board, in which contestants had to rearrange magnetic letters to spell the answer to a puzzle. In this case, dancers unscramble the way the culture ride goes: the group’s de facto catchphrase, “Dat way.”
The Migos’ stylist, Zoe Costello, helped bring the look to life. “Fashion and clothing are really important to Migos,” she told GARAGE in a phone interview Monday, “so when something get confirmed, I’m pretty [much] immediately speaking to the director, speaking to Quavo, getting the treatments and coming up with some ideas, [and] asking if they have any thoughts.” In this case, that directive was very specific: “They wanted it to feel themed rather than modern, and they really wanted it to feel like Soul Train.”
Rather than pulling current collection looks that reference the era, Costello went straight to the source: “They’re all vintage pieces!”
“There wasn’t much time to prep for the video,” she said. “When you’re getting a lot of people like Drake and Jamie Foxx, it’s something that kind of comes together last minute.” She searched vintage stores all over Los Angeles, and “I ended up finding things in some great costume houses like Universal, Palace…. Luckily, there were enough options that I wanted for [the video] for it to look cohesive.”
Migos, perhaps more than any other music group, is obsessed with references and past music icons. “They like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Michael Jackson—they’re the ones we talk about a lot,” Costello said. (Yes: the Migos idolize the Beatles.) “We like drawing inspiration from the past and making it come to life now, which is something unique for rappers.”
Looking like a group while still maintaining their individual styles is crucial for Migos, and part of what makes their style stand out. Costello is in constant communication with them to help define and refine their taste. “I’m with them right now in Paris,” said Costello, “and [as] I see stuff that they like, I ask them lots of questions about their icons and things that are very personal to them, like fabrics."
Costello walked us through each of the Migos’ looks.
Quavo wears a patchwork denim suit with a ruffled poet blouse, unbuttoned to show off a stack of chains (including a gold pendant with the logo of the group’s record label, Quality Control), and an Afro wig with a pink Pucci-style bandana. Quavo, who has a super-slim build, clearly has a Jimi Hendrix vibe: “He loves Hendrix!” Costello said. “In general, with Migos, they really love looking at past icons in music.” Quavo took the transformation pretty seriously, Costello explained. “Quavo’s almost like a method actor. He literally puts on the outfit, and he wants head-to-toe to really feel like he’s in that era—he was like this character. He wanted to go all in.”
Offset wears a pale pink suit, whose studded lapels recall the designs of Nudie Cohn, over a peach silk open-front ruffled blouse. “He loves ruffles,” Costello said. Offset’s girlfriend, Cardi B, posted an Instagram comparing his look to Bobby Proud performing “So Dysfunctional” in the cartoon Proud Family, but for Offset, Costello said, the ruffled look was in tribute to another music icon: Prince. “I called in a lot of ruffles. When I pull for Migos, I pull different kinds of categories,” Costello said. “And when they came in, they were like: ‘Definitely ruffles.’ And that really appealed to Offset.”
Takeoff somehow manages to look cool in what on paper will sound like the textbook definition of the worst outfit of all time: a powder blue tuxedo, a cabbage-ruffle-front tuxedo shirt, and a blonde Afro wig. So how does he look…cool? “The one thing about Migos is they have a way to make a lot of things look cool,” Costello said. “They’re just very naturally cool…. They carry the clothes really well.” Part of that is Takeoff’s openness with clothing: “Luckily, Takeoff is very willing to try everything.” As for the blonde Afro: “They really wanted to go for it.” His heart-shaped sunglasses helped, too, Costello said: “He was like, ‘The ladies love the hearts.’”
Drake’s look stands out, even in this soul fantasia: he rocks a Jheri curl, loafers, and a studded Saint Laurent jacket that dazzles under the soft light of the disco balls as he does perhaps his campiest performance of all time (it’s almost like he’s parodying “Hotline Bling”). Drake worked with his own stylist for the video, but Costello says, “It’s important to factor in who the artist is and, overall, what they stand for, especially when someone’s doing a collaboration on a track.” If the Migos are foxy soul singers, Drake is just calling to say he loves you. “Everyone looks great all together.”